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Good to Know…Week of September 5, 2011


SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
United in Remembrance, Divided over Policies
Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the events of that day retain a powerful hold on the public’s collective consciousness. Virtually every American remembers what they were doing at the moment the attacks occurred. Substantial majorities say that 9/11 had a profound personal impact and that the attacks changed the country in a major way.

To read this article, go to: PEWResearch.org

9/11 Commission Alumni Blast Failure to Enact ‘No-Brainers’
Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government still has not assured communications interoperability among first responders, or determined whether police or firefighters are the default authorities during a sudden disaster, according to reunited members of the 9/11 Commission who spoke on a panel Wednesday.

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

GOVERNMENT BAILOUT
Billions Meant for Struggling Homeowners May Pay Down Deficit Instead
With housing prices dropping sharply, and foreclosure filings against more than 1 million properties in the first half of this year, the Obama administration is scrambling for ways to help homeowners.

To read this article, go to: Propublica.org


GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING

War-Related Contracting Wasted up to $60 billion, Commission Reports
A staggering $12 million squandered every day for the last 10 years–that was among the findings the Wartime Contracting Commission uncovered in more than two years of investigating war-related spending since 2001.

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

TECHNOLOGY
Social Media Brings New Capacities and Liabilities to Crises
Rapid-fire Tweets and smartphone photos can be a boon to emergency responders trying to see through the fog of an unfolding crisis, but they also can divert responders with misinformation and potentially create liability issues, experts said Tuesday.

To read this article, go to: NextGov.com

Americans Using Web More for Federal Customer Service
People increasingly are using online channels to access federal customer service and said that their most satisfying engagement with agencies in 2011 came when they used a website to do so, according to a survey.

To read this article, go to: InformationWeek.com

‘Change by Us’ Connects Citizens to Government
Seeking to reinvent the relationship between citizens and government, a national nonprofit and a New York-based media design firm have created Change by Us, a digital platform intended to foster better engagement.

To read this article, go to: GovTech.com

Most Federal Websites Fail to Install Add-ons for Thwarting Site Redirects, Despite Mandate
A year and a half after a White House-imposed deadline, only 23 percent of federal websites have employed mandatory security measures to prevent hackers from transferring visitors to bogus websites, a General Services Administration official told Nextgov.

To read this article, go to: NextGov.com

The Smoking Gun on China’s U.S. Cyberattacks
A few weeks ago I wrote a column explaining, step by step, how hackers with a Chinese IP address attacked a honeypot network in the GCN Lab that had been set up for just that purpose.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Worried about Sophisticated Attacks, Agencies Ignore Low-tech Threats
Sophisticated attacks using Advanced Persistent Threats are top of mind for nearly two-thirds of government IT officials in a recent security survey, but too little attention often is being paid to the low-hanging fruit being exploited by low-tech attacks.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Intell Agency’s Software Would Predict World Events
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is seeking technology that can help intelligence analysts predict global events such as mass migrations, disease outbreaks, economic instability and natural disasters.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Using Open Data to Understand War and Peace
A new project, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, will make hard-to-find data on war and conflict available to academics–and help crowdsource military tactics.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

HEALTH CARE
HHS Awards $137M to States for Health IT, Prevention
The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday awarded $137 million to nearly every state to strengthen prevention efforts and to improve public health. Many of the awards include a health IT component, such as immunization information technologies and registries.

To read this article, go to: HealthcareITNews.com

Facebook App to Help Track How Viruses Spread
A new Facebook application, developed in a Tel Aviv University (TAU) lab, is poised to serve as a better indicator of how infections spread among populations.

To read this article, go to: HealthcareITNews.com

Tying Health Problems to Rise in Home Foreclosures
The threat of losing your home is stressful enough to make you ill, it stands to reason. Now two economists have measured just how unhealthy the foreclosure crisis has been in some of the hardest-hit areas of the U.S.

To read this article, go to: Wall Street Journal

Colorado Scaling Back Medicaid after Drastically Underestimating Numbers, Cost
Two years after lawmakers expanded Medicaid to cover poor adults without children, the state is vastly scaling back the program because the number of people eligible for coverage is nearly three times as high as first projected and the cost of insuring them is almost nine times original estimates.

To read this article, go to: DenverPost.com

SynCare Out as Assessor of Missouri Health Care Needs
Barely three months after it began, SynCare LLC’s brief but troubled relationship with the Missouri health department came to an abrupt end Thursday.

To read this article, go to: STLToday.com

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
When Disaster Strikes, It’s Up to Users to Preserve Bandwidth
The East Coast is experiencing a rare and potentially catastrophic one-two punch: A 5.8 magnitude earthquake–the strongest most area residents have experienced in their lifetimes–shook the region on Aug. 23 and the area braced over the following weekend for Hurricane Irene.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

FEMA Launches Mobile Apps for Disaster Preparedness
Mobile application and text-message update service will help people become better prepared before emergencies happen.

To read this article, go to: InformationWeek.com

Rebirth on the Bayou—Lessons from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast
Hurricane
Katrina is the costliest disaster in U.S. history and among the three
costliest in the world ever. And as Hurricane Irene reminds us, the
potential for a recurrence is not hard to imagine. As such, New Orleans
and the Gulf Coast stand as a lesson about what it takes to rebuild
after a major catastrophe.

To read this article, go to: Brookings.edu

Fight Brewing Over Replenishing FEMA’s Emergency Funds after Hurricane Irene
FEMA stirred some controversy when it announced that to meet the current crisis it was temporarily suspending payments for rebuilding in areas hit by earlier disasters, such as this spring’s tornadoes in Missouri and other states. Then on Monday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told a Fox News audience that any new federal disaster monies would require offsetting cuts in other spending, igniting a round of budgetary who-goes-first.

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

New Storm Brews in Congress Over Paying for Disaster Relief
House Republicans want any new funds spent because of Hurricane Irene or other disasters to be offset by cuts elsewhere.

To read this article, go to: LATimes.com

Costs of Irene Add Up as FEMA Runs Out of Cash
So FEMA administrator Craig Fugate says his agency will postpone work on some of the repair and restoration projects resulting from the earlier storms to pay for the immediate needs resulting from Irene.

To read this article, go to: NPR.org

After Irene, FEMA Facing a Disaster of Its Own—Funding
Now that the big hurricane is behind us–three days for Irene and six years for Katrina –the Federal Emergency Management Agency is running out of money and finds itself operating in a new political and fiscal climate that may be as treacherous as some of the disasters to which it must respond.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

IMMIGRATION
Judge Blocks Immigration Law
Alabama’s tough new immigration law is in limbo after a federal judge blocked it Monday, just days before it was to go into effect, so she can have more time to decide whether it is constitutional.

To read this article, go to: MontgomeryAdvertiser.com


SCHOOLS

A K-8 school by Day, Adult Club by Night?
A Miami-Dade charter school is in trouble with the school district, accused of having bawdy, after-hours parties on its South Miami Heights campus.

To read this article, go to: MiamiHerald.com

Schools Fill Budget Holes with Fracking Revenues
In late July, the Blackhawk School District, 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, joined a handful of other school districts in Pennsylvania looking to cash in on the state’s natural gas boom.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

INTERNATIONAL
What Will Make the Libyan Rebels’ Government-building Attempts Successful?
Guest blogger Laura Seay interviews the author of a book on governance by rebel groups about what Libya’s National Transitional Council will need to do to build a stable government.

To read this article, go to: CSMonitor.com

Libya in Conflict
As anti-Qaddafi forces strengthen their hold on Tripoli and continue to fight the dictator’s supporters, the challenges facing Libya in this transition are monumental. Brookings experts analyze the situation, examining next steps for the Libyan rebels and the implications for U.S. foreign policy in the region.

To read this analysis, go to: Brookings.edu


INTERESTING

The Matternet: A Flying Autonomous Delivery System for the Developing World
Nearly one billion people in rural areas live without access to all-season roads–meaning a large portion of the world’s population can’t get medication, food, and other supplies when they need them. The Matternet, a concept created by a group of students in this summer’s class at Singularity University, aims to leapfrog road-based transportation altogether with a network of electric autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) in the developing world that transports supplies and people from place to place. Think of it as the Jetsons meets Mother Theresa.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

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